nature wrapped me before religion did
swaddled me in the smell of grass and dirt
in orchards where I climbed trees as a kid
and ate apricots til my stomach hurt

at nine my family blew up’n
disappeared and I fell
under the spell
of burning incense
low murmurings in latin
the rituals of blood and bread
that have baptized and hypnotized
generations down to me

I became death’s altar boy
bent humbly as I genuflected
before the thing greater than this
the thing that buries us all

soon though time shook me awake
and took me on waves out into the world
where I trespassed like a hunted wounded thing
hiding along the hedgerows of my era

through orange-barreled lenses
I looked up at a foreign flag
and became a stranger to the sky

like the child who tries
to look directly into the sun
I dared stare down the naked truth
that has blinded us in shame

religions are old
but our bodies are older

all we’ve ever sought to learn
of our true origin and history
is already openly known
in the unhidden secret of our being

drawn deep from a wellspring
we eat drink breathe and deny
every time we kneel down to pray
to some other

I wish we’d never heard all their stories
of holy men and kings gods and heavens
they say lie somewhere beyond this world

we are built of this world
our dreams here real as the rivers and stars
that proclaim god’s soul is the universe
the religion I found first then lost
and have been searching for ever since

eternity isn’t waiting for us
it’s where we are right now
there is no time in the heart
your whole life is one moment
all your years like rings on a tree
all there all at once all the love
you’ve given or gotten every
hurt you’ve caused or carry

today my prayer is simple
just to take each breath I am given
and be open as I draw it in to what
it has always been telling me